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A Grown-Up Christmas List, From Someone Living With a Chronic Illness

Driving in my car, I heard the song, “My Grown-Up Christmas List,” on the radio. The lyrics talk about “no more lives torn apart” and “that wars would never start.”

That got me thinking what my grown-up Christmas list would consist of. And we’re not talking about the list of items I give to my family when they ask me, “What do you want for Christmas?”

If I could compose a list, just for me, of the things I really wish for, it would look something like this:

• The ability to consume solid food without pain.

• For my digestive system to accept, process and absorb the food I put in my body.

• For a doctor who will listen and not just look at my physical appearance.

• For a doctor to consider an “out-of-the-norm” possibility.

• My strength back.

• My energy back.

• A solid night’s sleep without waking up multiple times from the pain and being unable to fall back asleep because of the pain.

• For my family to understand that it is not me being short-tempered and miserable all the time, it is my illness causing me to act like this.

• A diagnosis.

• For my body to regain it’s ability to perform the normal functions it is capable of.

• Not having to take over 30 pills a day.

• To live a pain free life.

• The strength to keep fighting.

These lyrics in “My Grown-Up Christmas List” pretty much sum up how I feel: “I’m not a child, but my heart still can dream.” I am an adult, and I know this list isn’t very practical given my current condition, but I can dream.

I long for the day I find an answer or treatment. I long for the ability to regain my strength, energy and ability for my body and digestive system to function again. I dream of being able to live my life again.

I never felt like I could give or tell this list to anyone. It seems kind of sad reading it over. These aren’t the things anyone would expect to see on a Christmas list, but coming from someone living with chronic illness, these are the things I would really want. The items on this list aren’t something that can be bought in a store. They aren’t things that anyone can wrap in a box and give me on Christmas morning. But the last item on my list is something my family and those closest to me can help me with: the strength to keep fighting.

I can’t promise I will always agree with them when they say, “There will be an answer, this will not last forever or don’t worry you will find the doctor you need one day.” Sometimes it’s hard for me to keep a positive outlook and believe that one day there will be an answer, a treatment or a diagnosis. Nonetheless, hearing these words helps give me the courage to keep persevering.

The support, encouragement, love and hope those around me can provide me with are the most important things of all I could ask for at Christmas time. 

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